NRG poll shows decline in MoviePass brand trust

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National Research Group (NRG), a leading global entertainment strategy and polling firm providing data and insights to a wide range of Fortune 500 companies, today released a follow-up survey on the state of MoviePass among current moviegoers and former subscribers to the service.

In March, NRG conducted a comprehensive poll to better understand the impact MoviePass was having and could continue to have on the film industry. At the time, NRG found that subscribers were in love with the service, that it was significantly altering moviegoing behavior, and that consumers had a strong desire for a moviegoing subscription service. However, there were concerns that MoviePass was “too good to be true” and wouldn’t last. Thanks in part to MoviePass’s attractive ticketing model, domestic ticket sales are up over 9% year to date.

As a follow-up to their spring poll, from August 15-17, NRG fielded a new survey among 1,558 moviegoers ages 18 to 74. This included 424 current MoviePass subscribers and 100 subscribers who had recently cancelled.

NRG’s findings reveal that MoviePass has not only taken a substantial hit in its stock price, but it has also suffered a major loss in its brand perceptions among its customers. Satisfaction in the service has dropped 35 points over the past five months. 50% of those who have cancelled the service have done so within the past month, and only 37% of current subscribers are planning to stick with the service “for a long time” (down 25 points from March.)  Respondents pointed to MoviePass’s restrictions on what movies they could see and when they could see them as the most frustrating thing MoviePass has done.

“MoviePass’s innovation was offering the freedom and flexibility to see any movie, at any time, at almost any theatre, for a low price,” said Jon Penn, CEO of NRG. “By constantly changing the terms of service—limiting which films subscribers could see and when they could see them—MoviePass has eroded brand trust and undermined their leadership position.”

Despite MoviePass’ recent difficulties, there is still a healthy appetite for movie ticket subscription services, with 39% of moviegoers expressing definite interest in a vibrant subscription-based plan. In fact, the research discovered that moviegoers place more value in a plan’s flexibility—the ability to see whatever movie they want at whatever theatre they want—than on the total number of movies they are allowed to see.

“There remains immense opportunity and moviegoer appetite for innovation in movie ticket buying. Future services that offer value, flexibility and convenience—in an economically viable way—will help drive moviegoing to new heights,” said Penn.

MoviePass Brand Trust Declines

MoviePass subscriber satisfaction has dropped 35 points since March (from 83% to 48%). It now trails all major entertainment subscription services. Females dropped off more than males, falling 41 points to 42%.

“Likelihood to recommend” took a similar dive, dropping from 84% in March to 52% today (-32 points).

Nearly half of subscribers (46%) indicate they have heard “mostly negative” news about MoviePass lately. Unsurprisingly, that grows to 67% among those have unsubscribed.

Concerns about MoviePass’s long-term viability have increased. Previously, 32% of subscribers were “worried that it won’t last.” That number has grown to 50% (+18 points).

Why Cancellations Have Surged Recently

50% of those who have cancelled have done so within the past month. 50% of lapsed subscribers indicate that they’re going to the movies less often now, with 40% saying they’re going “about the same.”

Current subscribers may not stick around much longer. In March, 62% of subscribers planned to remain a subscriber “for a long time.” That number has dropped to 37% (down 25 points). Additionally, 47% indicate that they are likely to cancel their membership following the recent changes.

Subscribers of a variety of services were shown a series of words or phrases and asked which best describe the services. MoviePass ranked lowest on nearly all of the positive descriptions and scored much higher than the other services on “not trustworthy.”

When looking at MoviePass subscribers specifically, over half point to MoviePass’ restrictions on what movies they could see and when they could see them as the most frustrating thing MoviePass has done. Limiting the number of movies they could see was also a top frustration and reason for cancelling.

Despite MoviePass Decline, Moviegoers Still Enthusiastic About Subscriptions

General audiences who are not currently subscribers to any movie ticket subscription services show high potential for adoption. 39% said they would be “definitely interested,” with 84% showing top two box interest (“definitely/probably interested”).

Respondents who either currently subscribe to a movie ticketing service or are broadly interested in one were shown a set of plan descriptions that match the offerings that are currently or have been available in the past year.

The most popular is the Sinemia model—“$7.99/month for two movies at any theatre”—with 41% indicating they would be “very likely to subscribe” to such a plan. This is despite the fact that it offers the second-fewest movies out of any of the services.

MoviePass’ new plan (“$9.99/month for three movies at many theatres”) was also reasonably popular at 33% “very likely to subscribe.” AMC Stubs A-List and Cinemark Movie Club were less desirable (23% / 16%, respectively), likely due to their restrictions to theatre chain.

Ultimately, NRC concludes, this data suggests that when thinking about subscription plans, moviegoers narrowly prefer flexibility and value over quantity.

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